EXPECTATIONS could not have been higher at Bangor City ahead of the Huws Gray Alliance season, and although things did not go according to plan from the outset there have definitely been signs of life since the departure of manager Craig Harrison.

The Citizens went from JD Welsh Premier League runners-up to second tier title favourites after failure to obtain and FAW Domestic Licence, and they found it very hard to adjust to the rigours of the Cymru Alliance despite forming a formidable squad full of experience and potential over the summer months.

This was always going to be the case as the Citizens’ are everybody’s cup final given their stature and recent success, and the loss of Harrison to Connah’s Quay Nomads could well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of their overall fortunes throughout the current campaign.

Director of football Stephen Vaughan Jnr seems to have galvanised the group in Harrison’s absence, and although they may well be too far behind Airbus Broughton in their pursuit of an instant return to the top flight it will be an extremely good side that takes all three points off them from here on out given how well they are currently playing as a unit.

They are scoring a tremendous amount thanks to the resurgence of influential figures such as Marc Williams and Alex Darlington, and they have cut out the majority of defensive errors that proved so crucial during the initial stages of the season.

It has been a very uncertain period for the club in many ways over the last 18 months, so maybe it was too much to ask for City to achieve promotion at the very first opportunity. They may hold out a slim hope that the Wingmakers’ fortunes will slip in the coming months, but the focus will now be to finish as high as they can in the hope that they can convince the core of the squad to stick around next summer for a stronger push for the title.

Things are never dull at the VSM Stadium and after a very sluggish start by the high standards set by management and playing staff, their fortunes on the field are certainly looking up and they are going to be an immense proposition to overcome from now until the end of the current campaign.

Standout performer: Sam Barnes

The commanding centre-half has been one of the best signings made by the club during their squad overhaul, and the former Colwyn Bay skipper has been an assured presence at the back during difficult periods.

Barnes has also proved to be a useful asset to have at the other end of the field from set-pieces to further enhance his overall influence, and his ability to lead and organise has been another huge contributing factor in his initial success.

Player to watch: Jacob Farleigh

There are few that would argue that one his day Farleigh is one of the most exciting young prospects operating anywhere in the division, and he has lit up the HGA this term thanks to a series of exceptional displays that defy his age.

His fearless running with the ball and ability to make the right decisions in the final third have been just some of the most impressive features from a talented forward that is sure to go far in the domestic game.